These figures are 15mm Flames of War figures produced in plastic. I have to say that I was a lot more impressed with them than I thought I would be. There is a lot of detail and character to the figures, without the figures being too 'cartoony' as seems to be the case with some 28mm figs. They look purposeful and usable on the field.
WW2 Normandy is something that I have been wanting to do for 20 years. I bought a lot of 15mm Skytrex troops and tanks back in 1996, and in the boxes they sadly remained. That dormant interest finally rekindled when I recently purchased a set of the PanzerGrenadier rules (2nd Edition). All it took was driving down summer country roads, high hedgerows and seeing stone farmhouses and my imagination put everything together.
Things have changed of course in 20 years in our hobby as you will be well aware! We are so well catered for in WW2 figures and vehicles it is simply amazing. One cannot help but admire the Flames of War range with this period.
Now for some odd reason, when I took these fellows out of the box and decided to paint them, I thought it would be a quick job. A splash of khaki, a few strokes of mid-stone on the webbing, flash tone, boots rifle and voila! But it just didn't work out like that. I ended up putting as much time in as I would have done had they been from a more colourful uniformed era.
For one thing, getting the light contrasts on the uniforms so that they looked right and did justice to the guys who wore them, became an interesting and enjoyable challenge. I found myself really wanting to get the detail right. Owning and shooting original Lee Enfields also meant that I found it impossible to scrimp on time and detail on the rifles. It became more a labour of love.....not something that I had intended!
I also drew on inspiration on a book that I have owned for 30 years 'Hill 112' by Major JJ How. This book written by an officer in the Monmouths who fought through the Normandy campaign is a remarkable insight into the ferocious battle for that Hill and it's box-shaped wood. I remember in the early 1990's meeting my Great Great Uncle Charlie Savage from Cornwall for the first time. He recounted to me his days in the Duke of Cornwall's Light Infantry. His brother was at Hill 112 though he himself had been transferred to the Kings Regiment mid-war and found himself fighting throughout the siege of Malta.
As I painted these I couldn't help but think of Charlie and his brother and so I painted these figures up to represent the DCLI. On the upper sleeve of these 15mm figures is the Wyvern of the 43rd Wessex Division of which the DCLI were part. It is more of a representation of the Wyvern at this scale I should add...my skills are not that good!
Paints used were mostly from the Flames of War ranges but also Vallejo and Foundry.
Bases are MDF from Warbases. I wanted something with slight curve instead of straight corners so that it wouldn't look as if I was forming Napoleonic line when my sections were alongside each other
A few more pics below..I'll stop my narrating for a bit....
I had a bit of dilemma in how best to represent the formations which make up the battalion. For me it was all about accuracy and also knowing where I was up to as I built the Battalion up. I really do want to know which Platoon is where and where the relevant commanders are on the field so they can keep in communications and lead the right sections. I knew I had to label them up but the question was how. I'm not a big fan of visible labels on bases but with MDF bases and very small print, I found that a small strip of info could be placed on the very rear edge of the base. Because my playing mat has raised grass, it makes the label less obvious, a small push down of the grass and I can see exactly which unit is where.
On the underside of the bases (beneath the magnetic sheet) is more detailed information which I can pick up and look at should I really need to.
Handy for being accurate in what exactly is contained on support weapon bases when I can't remember my 2" mortar from my 3" (not a euphemism!).